In an effort to understand “why some gendered practices are more resistant to change than others,” researchers from Chapman University in California collected data from more than 17,000 people — men and women — to see how changing gender norms have impacted dating and relationships. In their study, they discovered that despite many changing gender norms, men still pay for a majority of dates and they are sick of it. While 57 percent of women polled claimed they had offered to pay for a date, “84 percent of men, and 58 percent of women, reported that men pay for most dating expenses, even after they’ve been going steady for a while.” Two out of three men think it’s time for women to pay for more. But if a majority of women are offering and men are still paying most of the time, whose fault is that? Men’s guilt/ego. According to the the study, a whopping 76 percent of men felt bad about letting a woman pay. Whether they feel bad for the woman or for themselves, the study findings do not say.
The study did find that while initial dates may be overwhelmingly paid for by the men, over time “the vast majority of participants, both male and female, said they shared dating expenses in the first six months of seeing someone exclusively.” The study also found that nearly 30% of men would ditch a woman who never paid for anything on dates.
We’ve talked a lot about paying for dates and it’s safe to say that we DWers are pretty progressive in general and probably fall more on the side of thinking that women should be paying for dates at least SOME of the time, if not fully splitting the costs equally. My feeling is that on the first date whoever does the asking should pay, and then from there it should be mostly equal depending on a variety of factors, like who has more disposable income, who is responsible for making the social plans, and how each partner contributes to the relationship. For example, if one person has less disposable income but makes a lot of home-cooked meals, then it’s fair that the other partner treat more often when they go out to eat. Or, if one partner does most of the driving and pays for all the gas, then it’s fair that the other contribute a little more to their fun fund.
Of all the ways that gender norms have evolved, it seems like this one — paying for dates — is more emotionally heated than any other. Is the value of money so much greater than anything else? Are we judging someone’s interest in us and level of commitment by the amount of money he or she is willing to spend on us? What about the amount of time? Or the attention he gives? Or the things she does or says?
Do you think that people are looking at the way they divide the bills on their early dates as a precursor to what marriage and a merging of finances could look like one day? Are men and women now equally turned off — or at the very least, a little scared — by the idea of being a sole breadwinner? And do initial dates set up expectations of that role down the line?
[via Daily Telegraph]